Aleh Meshyk


2 Heat Accumulation in Soils of Belarus

Authors: Aleh Meshyk, Maryna Barushka


The research analyzes absolute maximum soil temperatures registered at 36 gauge stations in Belarus from 1950 to 2013. The main method applied in the research is cartographic, in particular, trend surface analysis. Warming that had never been so long and intensive before started in 1988. The average temperature in January and February of that year exceeded the norm by 7-7.5 С, in March and April by 3-5С. In general, that year, as well as the year of 2008, happened to be the hottest ones in the whole period of instrumental observation. Yearly average air temperature in Belarus in those years was +8.0-8.2 С, which exceeded the norm by 2.0 – 2.2 С. The warming has been observed so far. The only exception was in 1996 when the yearly average air temperature in Belarus was below normal by 0.5 С. In Belarus the value of trend line of standard temperature deviation in the warmest months (July-August) has been positive for the past 25 years. In 2010 absolute maximum air and soil temperature exceeded the norm at 15 gauge stations in Belarus. The structure of natural processes includes global, regional, and local constituents. Trend surface analysis of the investigated characteristics makes it possible to determine global, regional, and local components. Linear trend surface shows the occurrence of weather deviations on a global scale, outside Belarus. Maximum soil temperature appears to be growing in the south-west direction with the gradient of 5.0 С. It is explained by the latitude factor. Polynomial trend surfaces show regional peculiarities of Belarus. Extreme temperature regime is formed due to some factors. The prevailing one is advection of turbulent flow of the ground layer of the atmosphere. In summer influence of the Azores High producing anticyclones is great. The Gulf Stream current forms the values of temperature trends in a year period. The most intensive flow of the Gulf Stream in the second half of winter and the second half of summer coincides with the periods of maximum temperature trends in Belarus. It is possible to estimate a local component of weather deviations in the analysis of the difference in values of the investigated characteristics and their trend surfaces. Maximum positive deviation (up to +4 С) of averaged soil temperature corresponds to the flat terrain in Pripyat Polesie, Brest Polesie, and Belarusian Poozerie Area. Negative differences correspond to the higher relief which partially compensates extreme heat regime of soils. Another important factor for maximum soil temperature in these areas is peat-bog soils with the least albedo of 8-15%. As yearly maximum soil temperature reaches 40-60 С, this could be both negative and positive factors for Belarus’s environment and economy. High temperature causes droughts resulting in crops dying and soil blowing. On the other hand, vegetation period has lengthened thanks to bigger heat resources, which allows planting such heat-loving crops as melons and grapes with appropriate irrigation. Thus, trend surface analysis allows determining global, regional, and local factors in accumulating heat in the soils of Belarus.

Keywords: Soil, temperature, trend surface analysis, warming

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1 Peculiarities of Snow Cover in Belarus

Authors: Aleh Meshyk, Anastasiya Vouchak


On the average snow covers Belarus for 75 days in the south-west and 125 days in the north-east. During the cold season snowpack often destroys due to thaws, especially at the beginning and end of winter. Over 50% of thawing days have a positive mean daily temperature, which results in complete snow melting. For instance, in December 10% of thaws occur at 4 С mean daily temperature. Stable snowpack lying for over a month forms in the north-east in the first decade of December but in the south-west in the third decade of December. The cover disappears in March: in the north-east in the last decade but in the south-west in the first decade. This research takes into account that precipitation falling during a cold season could be not only liquid and solid but also a mixed type (about 10-15 % a year). Another important feature of snow cover is its density. In Belarus, the density of freshly fallen snow ranges from 0.08-0.12 g/cm³ in the north-east to 0.12-0.17 g/cm³ in the south-west. Over time, snow settles under its weight and after melting and refreezing. Averaged annual density of snow at the end of January is 0.23-0.28 g/сm³, in February – 0.25-0.30 g/сm³, in March – 0.29-0.36 g/сm³. Sometimes it can be over 0.50 g/сm³ if the snow melts too fast. The density of melting snow saturated with water can reach 0.80 g/сm³. Average maximum of snow depth is 15-33 cm: minimum is in Brest, maximum is in Lyntupy. Maximum registered snow depth ranges within 40-72 cm. The water content in snowpack, as well as its depth and density, reaches its maximum in the second half of February – beginning of March. Spatial distribution of the amount of liquid in snow corresponds to the trend described above, i.e. it increases in the direction from south-west to north-east and on the highlands. Average annual value of maximum water content in snow ranges from 35 mm in the south-west to 80-100 mm in the north-east. The water content in snow is over 80 mm on the central Belarusian highland. In certain years it exceeds 2-3 times the average annual values. Moderate water content in snow (80-95 mm) is characteristic of western highlands. Maximum water content in snow varies over the country from 107 mm (Brest) to 207 mm (Novogrudok). Maximum water content in snow varies significantly in time (in years), which is confirmed by high variation coefficient (Cv). Maximums (0.62-0.69) are in the south and south-west of Belarus. Minimums (0.42-0.46) are in central and north-eastern Belarus where snow cover is more stable. Since 1987 most gauge stations in Belarus have observed a trend to a decrease in water content in snow. It is confirmed by the research. The biggest snow cover forms on the highlands in central and north-eastern Belarus. Novogrudok, Minsk, Volkovysk, and Sventayny highlands are a natural orographic barrier which prevents snow-bringing air masses from penetrating inside the country. The research is based on data from gauge stations in Belarus registered from 1944 to 2014.

Keywords: Density, snow, depth, water content in snow

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